CONSUMERS ARE EXPECTED to spend 4.52 per cent more this Valentine's Day than they did last year, at Bt3.51 billion (S$145.6mil). But that will be the lowest growth in nine years, as people are concerned about the high cost of living, a survey by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce found.
Last year, Valentine's Day spending was valued at Bt3.3 billion, up 4.7 per cent from 2013.
According to the UTCC's Economic and Business Forecasting Centre, Valentine's spending normally grows at double the pace of economic growth.
This year, gross domestic product is projected to expand by 3.5-4.5 per cent.
Thanavath Phonvichai, director of the centre, said people would be cautious with their spending this Saturday as they are afraid prices will rise faster than their incomes in the future.
"People will spend carefully because they are concerned about slow economic growth and higher prices, and are also worried about their safety after the recent bomb blasts in Bangkok," he said.
About 61 per cent of respondents to the UTCC survey foresee that this year's Valentine's Day will be as much fun as last year's, while 20 per cent said this year's celebrations would be even more enjoyable.
The rest said they would enjoy the day less because of safety concerns.
Based on the survey of 1,255 respondents from February 1-7, about 60 per cent of Thais think Valentine's Day is important, while others said it was just an ordinary day that would only lead to higher flower prices and increase the risk of hazardous sexual behaviour.
Most respondents who will celebrate Valentine's Day are aged between 19 and 39.
On a per capita basis, people will spend an average of Bt1,901 this Valentine's Day.
Businesses that will benefit the most are florists and flower traders, followed by restaurants, shops selling gifts and cards, and cinemas.